When to approach an accountant?

Discussion in 'General Business Forum' started by Wireless Approvals, Aug 2, 2018.

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  1. Wireless Approvals

    Wireless Approvals UKBF Newcomer Free Member

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    Hi All,

    Planning of been up and running from Jan, I plan on using an online accountant to do my boos etc....I'll be using quickbooks or xero to handle the accounting side of it from my end. Question is, when should I approach an accountant? Before I even start the business? Or approach them when I want their services such as tax returns?

    Im new to this so don't have an existing accountant (or even know of any) so just approaching one without actually having any work for them seems a bit odd for me.

    Thanks
     
    Posted: Aug 2, 2018 By: Wireless Approvals Member since: Jul 30, 2018
    #1
  2. JEREMY HAWKE

    JEREMY HAWKE UKBF Legend Full Member

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    If your a start up and your turn over is low , maybe your not VAT registered then you could consider a book keeper service to keep the overheads low to begin with
     
    Posted: Aug 2, 2018 By: JEREMY HAWKE Member since: Mar 4, 2008
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  3. CriticalThinker

    CriticalThinker UKBF Regular Full Member - Verified Business

    126 27
    I would suggest approaching an accountant before starting the business if you are new to owning a company and being a director. They will be able to offer you advice on a variety of things to do with running a company, company structure, funds extraction etc.

    Agree if your income is low then would be worthwhile considering just a book keeper to keep your records as the fees will be lower but at least engaging with an accountant in advance of needing them will help you to ensure you are operating using best practice etc.

    What you describe above is very much compliance related but I would argue that an accountants best value is the proactive advice as what happens in many cases I deal with clients approach the accountant after the event and it ultimately costs them more whereas a bit of foresight will ensure your transactions are minimising tax liabilities or simply just cost to your business.

    There's no right or wrong answer here, I guess it comes down to what you want from an accountant and how best they can help you
     
    Posted: Aug 2, 2018 By: CriticalThinker Member since: Jul 2, 2018
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  4. mattk

    mattk UKBF Newcomer Free Member

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    Definitely approach an accountant before you start your business. Most will give a free one-hour consultancy which will allow you to ask questions and they will explain some of the common pitfalls (things you likely won't have thought about) and describe the type of services they will provide.

    I found that paying them to do everything both allowed me to focus on my business and made sure I wasn't making any rookie mistakes. Once everything was up and running I decided what I could do myself based on complexity and cost. For example, I do my own VAT (takes 10 minutes if you have good records) but pay for them to do my payroll, as the difference in cost between my accountant and doing it myself wasn't worth it.
     
    Posted: Aug 2, 2018 By: mattk Member since: Dec 5, 2005
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  5. Wireless Approvals

    Wireless Approvals UKBF Newcomer Free Member

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    thanks all, can anyone recommend an accountant that would offer some upfront consultancy? Geographically an online accountant would probably work best...thanks.
     
    Posted: Aug 2, 2018 By: Wireless Approvals Member since: Jul 30, 2018
    #5
  6. Noah

    Noah UKBF Ace Free Member

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    If only there were a place where one could find such professionals - be even better is such a place was online... Where oh where...
     
    Posted: Aug 2, 2018 By: Noah Member since: Sep 1, 2009
    #6
  7. mattk

    mattk UKBF Newcomer Free Member

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    What attracts you to an online accountant?
     
    Posted: Aug 2, 2018 By: mattk Member since: Dec 5, 2005
    #7
  8. Ray272

    Ray272 UKBF Regular Free Member

    197 27
    I went with an online accountant initially, 7 years ago and they completely messed me about.

    I operated my invoice system on XL initially and had approximately 150 invoices in XL format.

    Fearful things were getting out of hand I scoured the streets for accountants and visited three accountants.

    1. Based on Old st London, could see I was naive, quoted me £2000 just to upload my invoices onto Quickbooks which I felt was the best system at the time due to the ability of QB to operate in different currencies.

    2. 2nd one was just a shady accountants near Highgate.

    3. My current accountant, 7 years now, we use them to handle our VAT returns every quarter and our company end of year and my personal tax.

    My accountant put the invoices onto QB for free and completed my late VAT returns within 3 weeks, I spent the next 3 months wondering if she had done it right and then 5 returns later I
    realised she knew exactly what she was doing. We then got an email from HMRC crime suppression division or something, they investigated us for apparent VAT fraud, the end result was the investigator telling us we need to provide a VAT rating on our invoices for EU clients, I then sent him an email and showed him the 0% vat rating that he seemed to have overlooked on the invoice.

    Since then touch wood we have never had an issue.

    I think an accountant with an office who has been around a few years in the same business is something that holds value if only for a better nights sleep.
     
    Posted: Aug 2, 2018 By: Ray272 Member since: Jul 5, 2017
    #8
  9. Blacklaw

    Blacklaw UKBF Newcomer Free Member

    17 2
    I have used numerous accountants over the years, I used several of these online firms too, and they have mostly been pretty bad it turned out and made a complete mess of my accounts. I do finally have a good one now. I use Thanetbookkeeping.com if you are interested.

    Lessons I have learnt over the years personally and from various clients and my current bookkeeper.

    1) Use a bookkeeper to do the monthly bookkeeping not an account. Acocuntants do not like doing bookkeeping, and will often just outsource it or charge you twice as much,

    2) If you are clueless about bookkeeping, do not try and do it yourself (unless it is truely minimal). I have seen so many people make a complete mess of it and it will end up costing you more for someone to clean up the mess, or you will end up paying more tax than you should.

    3) This industry is no different than any other, and like the building trade with it's cowboy builders, there are a LOT of unprofessional and unqualified bookkeepers and accountants out there. People who just woke up one day and decided to start doing it with no training or education.
    Make sure you check credentials and qualifications. Be sure to choose someone who is AAT or ICB certified, and be sure to verify it.
     
    Posted: Aug 2, 2018 By: Blacklaw Member since: Jul 31, 2018
    #9
  10. EICIC

    EICIC UKBF Contributor Free Member

    54 7
    Definitely shop around now.

    And that goes for your banking too.

    Easiest call in the world to an accountant - they should be chomping at the bit to meet you.

    See who you like and go with someone who will work with you no boss you about.

    Someone local who you can call and can stamp on if theres issues and for your needs someone comfortable with online accounting.

    Someone with a bit of experience and good local knowledge.

    You should be able to ask them about bookkeeping and the best company structure.

    The accountant in your local BNI group should be on your shortlist. If hes any good hell take you to a meeting where you can ask around a few other businesses as well.

    Look at the other networking groups as well - its a good and fast way to ask around.

    Whoever you pick dont let price dictate whatever they charge they should be able to save you money and help you make money.
     
    Posted: Aug 3, 2018 By: EICIC Member since: Nov 18, 2012
    #10
  11. JEREMY HAWKE

    JEREMY HAWKE UKBF Legend Full Member

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    I don't think you want an online account . It is better to deal face to face
     
    Posted: Aug 3, 2018 By: JEREMY HAWKE Member since: Mar 4, 2008
    #11
  12. estwig

    estwig UKBF Legend Free Member

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    I'm always surprised by business people, saying to take business advice from a bean counter. Sure they are good at what they do, but their perspective on business is skewed by their chosen profession.

    Take any advice your accountant gives, with a pinch of salt.
     
    Posted: Aug 3, 2018 By: estwig Member since: Sep 29, 2006
    #12
  13. Anon377593

    Anon377593 Guest

    0 0
    This is a really useful thread (thanks all) as I'd been wondering about accountants and online versus real life.

    I ran a Ltd co about ten years ago and gave all my paperwork to my accountant. No real problems but wondered if it was just something that I could be doing myself. Ten years on, software has moved on, and I was planning on just downloading a package and doing it myself. But if I'm reading this thread correctly, there are mixed views on this one, and I'd be better off just handing it all over from the start? Any more thoughts on this out of interest?
     
    Posted: Aug 3, 2018 By: Anon377593 Member since: Jan 1, 1970
    #13
  14. JEREMY HAWKE

    JEREMY HAWKE UKBF Legend Full Member

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    Well we have seen some of the advice given on here
    Like when a limited company is in trouble and they tell the director to declare himself bankrupt usually over the DL that could be easily solved
    In defence of these accountants they do show their company details on this site so they have to be careful about what they say
     
    Posted: Aug 3, 2018 By: JEREMY HAWKE Member since: Mar 4, 2008
    #14
  15. estwig

    estwig UKBF Legend Free Member

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    It's not just accountants on here, it's accountants in general, people place far too much weight on the advice of someone who is not a business person. Same can be said for landlords.
     
    Posted: Aug 3, 2018 By: estwig Member since: Sep 29, 2006
    #15
  16. MyAccountantOnline

    MyAccountantOnline UKBF Legend Full Member

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    When you start in business one really important consideration is getting the structure of your business correct so that you pay no more in tax than you have to - a good accountant can help you with this.

    I've been an accountant for many years and have seen so many new business owners come to me 12 months down the line and as a result end up paying totally avoidable tax.

    Can I ask out of interest why Xero or QuickBooks for your bookkeeping?
     
    Posted: Aug 3, 2018 By: MyAccountantOnline Member since: Sep 24, 2008
    #16
  17. estwig

    estwig UKBF Legend Free Member

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    When you start in business one really important consideration is getting your marketing right and making money. There is no point appointing an accountant for something, that will never get off the ground.
     
    Posted: Aug 3, 2018 By: estwig Member since: Sep 29, 2006
    #17
  18. MyAccountantOnline

    MyAccountantOnline UKBF Legend Full Member

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    I've been an accountant for a very long time and your post actually highlights a huge change in how accountants work now.

    When I started as an accountant getting a bag full of records was how we worked. Consequently clients would generally pay quite a premium for us to sort receipts and invoices and for us to undertake the necessary bookkeeping before we could even start to prepare the accounts and tax returns.

    Now good software packages and online systems enable clients to keep good accurate records so that we no longer have to deal with bookkeeping and can spend time doing what we trained to do, which for most small businesses means saving them tax.

    It's important not to confuse bookkeeping and dealing with accounts and tax returns. Bookkeeping isnt terribly difficult if you've got the time to do it. Dealing with accounts and tax returns (properly) needs the experience, skills and knowledge only a good accountant has.
     
    Posted: Aug 3, 2018 By: MyAccountantOnline Member since: Sep 24, 2008
    #18
  19. Mark T Jones

    Mark T Jones UKBF Big Shot Full Member

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    Never approach them when they are eating, hung over or guarding their young.

    Late jan is pretty dodgy too.
     
    Posted: Aug 3, 2018 By: Mark T Jones Member since: Nov 4, 2015
    #19
  20. MyAccountantOnline

    MyAccountantOnline UKBF Legend Full Member

    12,937 2,406
    :D:D
     
    Posted: Aug 3, 2018 By: MyAccountantOnline Member since: Sep 24, 2008
    #20
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